Published in EPT by Wilhelm Sicking,
Leopard beats the Heat
ROV completes 570 kilometre offshore
in the Arabian Gulf
Feb 19, 2016 + + + In the Arabian Gulf, Saab
Seaeye's pioneering new Leopard electric work ROV has survived its most
challenging test yet. After spending two continuous months working
24 hours a day, seven days a week, often in scorching 40°C heat, their
newly delivered Saab Seaeye Leopard ROV has survived its first real test,
report Abu Dhabi-based, CCC Underwater Engineering.
"It was a baptism of
fire," admits CCC's ROV Manager, Tavis Letherby, having launched the
Leopard straight into a 570 kilometre pipeline inspection.
wanted to tease out teething problems and in the end we only needed to
boost the cooling system to beat the heat. I trusted Saab Seaeye
technology and the Leopard proved to be an excellent performing vehicle."
Having a large fleet of Saab Seaeye vehicles, he was keen to experience
the innovative new Leopard concept, particularly as its 11 thrusters and
new iCON control architecture make it the most powerful ROV of its size in
"I am very impressed by its work capabilities, which in
many respects are comparable to an hydraulic work vehicle." he said.
As a rule electric scores higher than hydraulic when it comes to
working in strong currents and at high temperatures – it also produces
higher quality survey data. Not least are the considerable savings made in
lower operating costs, ownership costs and environmental costs.
"The Leopard has a work class way of thinking."
Having experienced the collective capability of the ROV's new
iCON control architecture and its potent tooling resource, Tavis Letherby
concludes with: "The Leopard has a work class way of thinking."
inspiration behind the concept, according to Saab Seaeye, was to produce a
vehicle able to undertake the widest possible range of work tasks, in the
most diverse environments, at the lowest cost of ownership.
Letherby explains why he is impressed: "The Leopard can take larger tools
than is usual for an electric ROV – and its third vertical thruster gives
it an advantage over other ROVs."
Turning to iCON, he says: "An
important benefit of iCON is the added functionality of station keeping,
allowing the operators to concentrate on the task at hand - thereby
reducing the workload on the operator and ensuring the task is performed
in an efficient manner."
Having 11 powerful thrusters also helps
the Leopard stay on station when working in high current areas.
With iCON the Leopard effectively thinks for itself, leaving the operator
free to concentrate on the task at hand. This comes from having refined
the main electronics pod into an intelligent power distribution and data
hub with the brains of the system relocated into sensors and actuators
around the vehicle.
"I also like that iCON improves redundancy," says
Tavis Letherby. "It will isolate a problem in the water and find ways
around the issue to keep the vehicle working."
The operator also
gets greater information to make maintenance simpler and quicker, along
with remote internet access for upgrades and support. Equipment changes
are also easier, as distributed intelligence and building–block simplicity
avoids the need to partially dismantle the ROV to reach a central
"The Leopard is a valuable option for
cost savings. Although the Leopard can't do everything an
hydraulic work vehicle can, it will take on most missions, including drill
support, and with a 3000 metre rating, it can be a valuable option when
looking for cost savings."
For the Middle East it has a good
footprint he says. "I find hydraulic work class vehicles too large and too
heavy. The Leopard has a big advantage with its 25 ton complete package
and small footprint, when compared with the 66 tons of a comparable
hydraulic system which has a much larger footprint, takes longer to
mobilise, has a higher maintenance cost, needs more staff and needs a
larger service vessel – when there aren't many large service vessels
currently operating in the Middle East."
With CCC operating right
across the region, Tavis Letherby says he uses hydraulic work vehicles
alongside his fleet of Saab Seaeye ROVs that range from observation to
electric work options, but is always looking for vehicles that are smarter
and which lower the cost of working.
"I like that Saab Seaeye has a
core construct of thought in their system design with a continuity that
helps our people familiarise themselves across the range. For instance we
own a Panther XT Plus light work vehicle, and are pleased to discover that
the Leopard, whilst being a completely new pioneering concept has
incorporated into its design some of the proven features of the excellent
There are other new ideas he likes in the Leopard
including its large open payload bay that allows for ample tooling and
survey sensors to be installed on sliding trays for rapid reconfiguration
and easy maintenance.
The combination of its new chassis design
together with iCON and its building-block capability means that more
interchangeable equipment can be fitted than ever before in a vehicle of
More demanding payloads can also be added, as the
Leopard has a one tonne through–frame–lift capability and a four point
docking system for tooling skids.
Throughout the trialling process
in the Gulf, Tavis Letherby praised Saab Seaeye support. "It's easy to buy
an ROV system, but to operate and maintain it is something else, and I
know I can rely upon Saab Seaeye's after sales care, which succeeds where
He concludes by saying that the Leopard will be a
very good match for CCC Underwater Engineering's ROV operations across its
wide range of tasks.
Source: Matt Bates, Saab Seaeye -
Tavis Letherby, CCC Underwater Engineering -
+ + +
Saab Seaeye is the world's largest electric underwater vehicle
manufacturer and technology leader with the most advanced range of
tethered, autonomous and hybrid vehicle systems. Vehicles, tooling and
robotic solutions are engineered to address the diverse range of
underwater tasks found across commercial, defence and scientific markets.
CCC (Underwater Engineering) S.A.C., established in 1976, is a leading
provider of offshore construction and subsea services to the oil and gas
industry in the Middle East and Indian regions.
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